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J Biotechnol. 2007 Mar 10;128(4):705-15. Epub 2006 Dec 12.

The level of synthesis and secretion of Gaussia princeps luciferase in transfected CHO cells is heavily dependent on the choice of signal peptide.

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  • 1Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Jonas Lies vei 91, N-5009 Bergen, Norway.


There is a great demand for the improvement of mammalian cell production systems such that they can compete economically with their prokaryotic counterparts. Of a number of parameters that need to be explored to accomplish this we have tested the effects of different signal peptides on the synthesis and secretion of Gaussia princeps luciferase in mammalian cells. A series of plasmids were transfected into CHO cells where the coding region for the marine luciferase was fused to the signal peptide coding regions derived from different sources. Both cell extracts and medium samples were analysed for luciferase activity. When the native Gaussia luciferase signal sequence in the vector was substituted by that from human interleukin-2 or albumin then the amount of active recombinant protein produced was substantially reduced, both in transiently and stably transfected cells. Western blotting showed that enzyme activity and protein levels mirrored one another. The major decrease in luciferase activity was shown not to be a result of decreased mRNA levels, indicating the involvement of a post-transcriptional event. When the coding region of human endostatin was fused to that of the Gaussia luciferase signal peptide then an elevated level of secreted endostatin was observed compared to when that of the albumin signal peptide was used. Stable transfection of HepG2 cells with the different signal peptide constructs gave essentially the same results as seen in CHO cells. The overall results indicate that the choice of signal peptide can be imperative to ensure an optimal synthesis and secretion of a recombinant protein in a mammalian cell culture system.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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